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Aaron Bastani

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Aaron Bastani
Aaron Bastani, The World Transformed.jpg Aaron Bastani, The World Transformed.jpg
Bastani (left) in 2017
BornAaron John Peters[1]
February 1984 (age 37)
Bournemouth, England, UK
🏳️ Nationality
💼 Occupation
Broadcaster, writer, commentator and activist
Co-Founder of Novara Media, author of Fully Automated Luxury Communism
🏛️ Political partyLabour (2015–present)
Green (until 2015)

Aaron John Bastani (born Aaron John Peters; February 1984)[2][1] is a British political commentator, writer, broadcaster and activist. He is a Contributing Editor and Digital Officer of Novara Media, which he co-founded. He was also the founder of the digital PR agency, Silke Digital, and a researcher at the centrist think tank, Demos.[3]

Early life[edit]

Aaron Bastani speaking outside the Greek Embassy in 2010, while a student at UCL.

Bastani was raised by his mother in Bournemouth. His father Mammad is an ethnic Azeri/Russian, born and raised in Iran who speaks Azerbaijani as his first language. He's a taxi driver who "ended up in Britain a refugee" when his parents told him not to come home after the Iranian Revolution. His grandmother is an Iranian Jew.[4] He took his father's surname in 2014.[5] He was educated at University College London before completing his doctorate at Royal Holloway, University of London in 2015. His thesis was entitled "Strike! Occupy! Retweet!: The Relationship Between Collective and Connective Action in Austerity Britain."[6] He later stated that he wrote his thesis in six months, giving ten reasons, including a high-carbohydrate diet, for this high workrate.[7]

Career[edit]

In 2010, Aaron Bastani co-founded the left wing online news network, Novara Media, of which he is now a Contributing Editor and Digital Officer. He co-hosted Novara Media's former weekly podcast, NovaraFM, which was also broadcast on Resonance FM. Bastani has interviewed such figures as the economist Yanis Varoufakis, Marxist geographer David Harvey, former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, and the journalists Owen Jones and Paul Mason.[8][9]

He has written for a number of publications including The Guardian, Vice and the London Review of Books blog[10][11][12] and appeared on television broadcasters such as CNBC, Channel 4 News, and Sky News.[13][14][15]

In June 2019, his political manifesto "Fully Automated Luxury Communism" was published.[16][17] It received mixed reviews, from Marxists who thought that Bastani understated the role of class struggle,[18] and from conservatives who argued that Socialism has been tried and failed.[19] In a positive review, The Guardian wrote that "Some readers will finish this book exhilarated and energised. Others will be unconvinced, or utterly baffled. There are more ideas crammed in here than in a whole shelf of standard politics books."[20] In a more negative review, The Times concluded that 'it isn’t remotely clear from this book what communism is'.[21]

In February 2020 the British edition of GQ identified Bastani as being one of the top 50 most influential people in Britain due to the rising popularity of Novara Media, and noting that Bastani is 'responsible for the majority of Seumas Milne sock puppets on TV.'[22]

Political views and activities[edit]

Bastani has described his political views as libertarian communist and feminist.[23][24] He supports the political aspiration of a post-scarcity economy with universal basic services, which he has termed "fully automated luxury communism".[25]

Bastani was found guilty of attacking a HSBC bank in London in March 2011 during an anti-austerity protest by using a wheelie bin to break the door open, before waving other protesters inside. Bastani was convicted of a public order offence, given a suspended prison sentence and ordered to perform community service.[5][26]

He has been a member of the Green Party and a supporter of their London mayoral candidate, Siân Berry. He endorsed the Labour Party leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.[27][14]

In the run-up to the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016, Bastani initially campaigned for the UK to leave the European Union but changed his position on pragmatic grounds two weeks before the referendum.[28][29]

In November 2018, Bastani published a video in which he described the Poppy Appeal as “grotesque”, “racist” and “white supremacist” and called for the Royal British Legion to be shut down. Jeremy Corbyn's Shadow Defence Minister, Nia Griffith, described Bastani's views as an 'utter disgrace' and 'in no way representing the Labour Party', whilst calling for the Party to consider his expulsion.[30]

Bastani is a critic of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's guidance on understanding antisemitism, noting that "Israel was indeed founded on racism, massacres and the intentional displacement of an entire people".[31]

Libel suit[edit]

In April 2020, Bastani apologised to Maajid Nawaz and paid legal costs and a donation in lieu of damages to Quilliam after calling him a "former terrorist" on Twitter. Bastani said: "By falsely accusing a Muslim who I disagree with of terrorism, I have engaged in anti-Muslim bigotry. I am sorry I have engaged in the repetition of such an anti-Muslim trope".[32]

Personal life[edit]

Bastani lives in Portsmouth. Bastani is an amateur ornithologist.[citation needed]. Bastani was formerly known by fellow political activists as “The Bodybuilder” on account of his 'stocky, muscular figure'.[33]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 FreeBMD Entry Info
  2. "Aaron John BASTANI - Personal Appointments (free information from Companies House)". beta.companieshouse.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 2020-01-25. Retrieved 2020-01-25. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  3. Bastani, Aaron. "Aaron Bastani". LinkedIn. LinkedIn. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  4. "Hey @stephenpollard - my grandmother is an Iranian Jew (complex!) would you rather she die or live?". Twitter.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2020-01-03. Retrieved 2020-04-04. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  6. "PhD Students". Andrew Chadwick. Archived from the original on 2019-12-02. Retrieved 2020-01-24. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  7. Bastani, Aaron (April 26, 2016). "How I Wrote a 100,000 Word PhD in Six Months". Medium. Archived from the original on 2020-05-29. Retrieved April 21, 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  8. Gent, Craig; Walker, Michael (2018-11-24), "Alternative Media: A New Factor in Electoral Politics?", Political Communication in Britain, Springer International Publishing, pp. 117–128, doi:10.1007/978-3-030-00822-2_8, ISBN 978-3-030-00821-5
  9. ""Luxury communism now!" The rise of the pro-Corbyn media". www.newstatesman.com. Archived from the original on 2020-01-10. Retrieved 2020-01-24. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  10. "Aaron Bastani | The Guardian". the Guardian. Archived from the original on 2020-05-22. Retrieved 2020-01-24. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  11. Bastani, Aaron (2015-06-12). "We Don't Need More Austerity: We Need Luxury Communism". Vice. Archived from the original on 2019-12-09. Retrieved 2020-01-24. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  12. LRB. "Aaron Bastani · LRB". LRB Blog. Retrieved 2020-01-24.
  13. "Corbyn: Man of the millennials?". CNBC. 2015-08-18. Retrieved 2020-01-24.
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Labour entryists: the left activists joining to back Corbyn". Channel 4 News. Archived from the original on 2016-08-14. Retrieved 2020-01-24. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  15. Aaron Bastani on Sky News on Jeremy Corbyn's Shadow Cabinet, archived from the original on 2017-06-23, retrieved 2020-01-24 Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  16. Bastani, Aaron (2019-06-11). Fully Automated Luxury Communism. Verso Books. ISBN 978-1-78663-262-3. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  17. "Fully Automated Luxury Communism". www.goodreads.com. Retrieved 2020-01-24.
  18. Barker, Jason. "Artificial Stupidity". Los Angeles Review of Books. Archived from the original on 2019-07-01. Retrieved 2020-04-27. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  19. Lowrey, Annie (2019-06-20). "Give Us Fully Automated Luxury Communism". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on 2020-06-29. Retrieved 2020-04-27. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  20. Beckett, Andy (29 May 2019). "Fully Automated Luxury Communism by Aaron Bastani – a manifesto for the future". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2020-05-04. Retrieved 15 April 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  21. Finkelstein, Daniel (7 June 2019). "Fully Automated Luxury Communism by Aaron Bastani review — Marx gets a millennial makeover". The Times. Archived from the original on 2019-09-03. Retrieved 15 April 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  22. "The 50 most influential people in Britain". February 5, 2020. Archived from the original on 2020-05-13. Retrieved June 10, 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  23. Aaron Bastani Speaks At Wysing Art Centre, archived from the original on 2016-03-04, retrieved 2020-01-24 Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  24. Bastani, Aaron (2011-09-15). "Fuck off Vere - I'm a man and feminism is awesome and needed now more then ever #newsnight". @AaronBastani. Archived from the original on 2016-06-05. Retrieved 2020-01-24. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  25. June 17th; 2016|Arts; reviews, Literature book; Reviews, Comparative; reviews, Economics book; reviews, Politics book; Sociology; Comments, Anthropology book reviews|15 (2016-06-17). "Long Read Review: What Will We Do in the Post-Work Utopia? by Mareile Pfannebecker and J.A. Smith". LSE Review of Books. Archived from the original on 2019-07-29. Retrieved 2020-01-24. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  26. "The Londoner: Comey swayed by Trump sex dossier | London Evening Standard". Archived from the original on 2018-12-11. Retrieved 2020-04-04. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  27. "Endorsements". Sian Berry AM. Archived from the original on 2016-12-20. Retrieved 2020-01-24. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  28. "Why the left should vote to leave the EU". Novara Media. Archived from the original on 2019-10-10. Retrieved 2020-01-24. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  29. "Why I've Changed My Mind About Brexit". Novara Media. Archived from the original on 2019-07-21. Retrieved 2020-01-24. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  30. @@ridgeonsunday (11 November 2018). "The comments made are completely unrepresentative and an utter disgrace" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  31. "Labour's Obligation to Peace Between Israel and Palestine Starts by Rejecting the IHRA Examples". Novara Media. Archived from the original on 2020-04-23. Retrieved 2020-04-16. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  32. Bastani, Aaron (2020-04-03). "To @MaajidNawaz, an apology.pic.twitter.com/QavMfmv3ey". @AaronBastani. Archived from the original on 2020-04-04. Retrieved 2020-04-19. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  33. "I met today's communists... and I wasn't convinced". September 5, 2019. Archived from the original on 2020-07-16. Retrieved July 21, 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)


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